Boy 2's teacher ask me to do a presentation on Cambodia for his class.  I struggled with what to talk about for these 15 minutes with a bunch of 4th graders.  First we talked about where Cambodia is....many of the children have been to Thailand or Vietnam so they were easily able to visualize where Cambodia is. I then mentioned to them that many Cambodian homes do not have running water or electricity, which immediately grabbed their attention and one boy (in shock) said "that means they don't have Xbox!"  After talking about the many things that require electricity one child raise her hand and said "Mrs. Trish, you said they don't have running water - where do they go to the bathroom?"   In the end I need WAY more than 15 minutes with these kids! 

Here are a few things I shared with them:
- The average income for a Cambodian family is $1 USD PER DAY.  Yes, you read that correctly, PER DAY(In Phnom Penh it is triple that, but overall this is the average income - can you imagine?)
- By 5 years of age older children in the family are expected to help with the younger children.
- By age 10 girls are expected to help with basic household chores (washing clothes in the river or body of water as there are very few washing machines), doing dishes, waking up early to cook.
- By age 10 boys are expected to be able to take care of the livestock and the family farm.
- During the teen years boys often become monks.
- Marriage - girls marry between the ages of 16 & 22, men marry between the ages of 19 & 25.  Parents and matchmakers pick whom you marry.
- If you do not wake before sunrise you are considered lazy.
- Children go to school very early and are done by 10 or 11AM - after school they go to work.

The picture below is of a young boy getting his bathwater.  He took a bath right there with me taking pictures and all.

It starts with this:
They crack the palms open drain the juice out and cook it over a VERY HOT fire.
I have no idea how long they cook it.
But at some point they take it off the fire and start stirring...
...and stirring....
...and stirring...
...until it gets to the right consistency.
When it is just right they put it in jars or these little molds to dry:
And then they put it on their table to sale.
They sell them for next to nothing, and for tourist they raise the price.  If you don't haggle with them they giggle. Little do they know I am more than happy to pay $2 for a jar of fresh Palm Sugar and more than happy to give them a little more money than they think their product is worth so they can have a little extra this month.
Leftover dried bits - yum.
A sweet baby girl I fell in love with. I bought a basket from her Momma just because she was so stinkin' cute.

Leave a Reply.